Our Blessed Lord loves me, with all my faults and failings, and has marked me out for the special graces which will make me a saint, a big one if I like.
COMMENT: Three points are worth reflecting on today.
Firstly, Fr Doyle’s words may, at first glance, seem arrogant or proud. “God loves ME. He has marked ME out for special graces. They could make ME a BIG saint.” And yet, what Fr Doyle says is true. Fr Doyle was marked out for special graces that could make him a big saint. But not just Fr Doyle – all of us. We are all marked out for special graces. We can all become great saints. We are all called to be perfect, no matter what our temporal circumstances are like, and we are all given the opportunity to obtain the grace to achieve that, even if that path will be very hard.
And that leads us to the second point. “If I like”…What telling words from Fr Doyle today. God loves us, and He wants us to imitate Him more closely and to be perfect, to be a big saint. But He will not force us. We are called to be saints and to co-operate with His will for us. But we have to want to do so and to dispose ourselves to receive those graces. God will not make us holy against our will. We must co-operate.
Thirdly, then, perhaps we, too, can learn from this in our relations with others. Even though He wants us to be better, God does not force us to become saints. Similarly, we cannot force others to believe or to practice their faith. Fr Doyle knew this and always approached others with gentleness and kindness, despite his burning zeal for their salvation. He did not force or condemn. As St Francis de Sales used to say, a spoon of honey catches more flies than a barrel of vinegar.